There are a lot of great books this week: X-Men Legacy #6 cleverly pays off the first arc of the book, Hawkeye #8 is a hoot with a killer cliffhanger, and Nemo: Heart Of Ice is a great return to the universe of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But this was the biggest surprise.
On the surface, Five Weapons sounds like a goofy manga series: A kid is packed off to a high school for assassins, and has to choose between five clubs about various sorts of weapons.
And it’s undeniably manga-inspired, but Jimmie Robinson, the writer and artist, puts another twist on it: Our hero can’t fight. But that may just put him at an advantage.
Tyler Shainline appears at The School Of The Five Weapons and, almost immediately, demonstrates that he’s smarter and more observant than his classmates. The first page of the book is all about explaining our hero’s perspective: His weapon isn’t something he holds, but asking the right questions and thinking ahead.
Essentially, it’s as if Sherlock Holmes were a smart-assed teenager in a high school full of homicidal maniacs. What makes the book work instead of coming off as snotty is that Tyler is the only grounded person short of the school nurse; everybody else is either a self-involved snob, utterly insane, too driven to notice what he’s up to, or all three. He’s the sane man in the asylum, and he’s smart enough to know that plays to his advantage.
Helping keep the tone light, beyond Robinson’s propensity for one-liners, is his art. He’s got a manga-inspired tone to the work that carefully walks the line between detailed and cartoony. The first panel of the book is a good indicator of the tone:
Robinson has largely worked on books aimed either squarely at adults (the Bomb Queen series) or at kids (Evil And Malice Save The World), and here he gets to balance those sensibilities somewhat. It’s a funny book with a lot of promise, and we can’t wait to see how Robinson pays off the concept.
How about you? What was your favorite book this week?